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#1993844 - 12/02/12 07:46 PM HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano.
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Hello everyone.

I have recently been doing research on headphones in general and would like to buy a nice pair soon to use at night with my digital piano (Roland KR-7).

I'm a 'bang for the buck' type of guy and would like to purchase a quality set of headphones without breaking the bank. I want something with very good quality, just not at the granular level where the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

My research has led me to these choices:

1.) Sennheiser 600/650
2.) Beyerdynamics DT880 (250 ohms).

My question is, after reading several threads, some say that a much cheaper pair of headphones would actually sound better on a digital piano since they may not add any extra 'color' to the sound. That the acoustic sample used on a digital sounds muffled and not as crisp/clear when using better headphones. Not sure if this is true.

Also, I couldn't find anywhere what ohms recommended headphones to use with my digital. I can't find the power output of the headphone amp. The manual says the piano consumes 105 watts of power but doesn't say what ohm headphones to use.

I've read that 600 ohms headphones sound fantastic but need a dedicated amp to adequately power them to their fullest potential and I'm not sure if my digital can properly power them with whatever amp it is using.

I'm asking your advice as to what headphones you would suggest in my situation. I don't want to get the wrong pair.

Thanks in advance.

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#1993857 - 12/02/12 08:37 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
o0Ampy0o Offline
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Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
My research has led me to these choices:

1.) Sennheiser 600/650
2.) Beyerdynamics DT880 (250 ohms).

I have a pair of the Sennheiser HD 600s and they work fine with an iPod and a computer. They do not require nor benefit significantly from a headphone amp. Headphone amps just boost volume. Any EQ is separate. You just get a louder version of what they offer without an amp. They do not really expand or bloom from the use of one.

Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
My question is, after reading several threads, some say that a much cheaper pair of headphones would actually sound better on a digital piano since they may not add any extra 'color' to the sound. That the acoustic sample used on a digital sounds muffled and not as crisp/clear when using better headphones. Not sure if this is true.

Not sure how accurate that description is. The less expensive headphones color the sound more often than the high-end. Usually there is extra bass.

The Sennheiser HD-600's sound is relatively neutral/flat and they accept EQ well. They present a large audio spacial landscape. The sound is not right up against your ears. When listening for longer periods this is an advantage. I also use them for playing electric guitar through software and this is significant. Sometimes I have been surprised at the illusion of a room. Using something at the other end of this spectrum would be claustrophobic and stuffy.

They are also physically comfortable although they are a snug fit. The ear cups are large and accommodate big ears. The snugness benefits the sound as it assists bass and distributes some weight to the pads instead of the band over the top of your head. I have the older 580s as well and although loser the weight shifted to the band makes them less comfortable.



Edited by o0Ampy0o (12/02/12 08:46 PM)

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#1993878 - 12/02/12 09:19 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Thanks o0Ampy0o. It's good to know that a 300 ohm(Seinheisser HD 600) headphone will sound good just plugged in to the digital without a dedicated amp.

I'm still curious however if this is true with say the Beyerdynamics DT-880 which comes in a 600 ohm version. I'd want to know because if I were to get the Beyerdynamics phones, I have the option of either 250 or 600 ohms. I'm not sure if the digital can power the 600. The 250 probably no problem.

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#1993908 - 12/02/12 10:31 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Why would you want the 600ohm over the 250ohm version?

Are you going to use them for a high-end stereo system or in a professional recording environment?

250ohms is technically still in the high impedance range. Generally a higher impedance will stave off more distortion from a crappy source but at the cost of volume. With the source being a digital piano you are dealing with a simple headphone output. There is not going to be an advantage choosing the 600 over the 250ohm version in this case.

A couple of sources for general information on impedance here and Wikipedia


Edited by o0Ampy0o (12/02/12 10:49 PM)

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#1993916 - 12/02/12 10:53 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: o0Ampy0o]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Why would you want the 600ohm over the 250ohm version?

Are you going to use them for a high-end stereo system or in a professional recording environment?




Actually yes. I have a high power stereo that can push the 600 ohms headphones that I'd like to use with headphones as well as the digital piano. I guess it makes no sense to get the 600 ohm pair when both the stereo and the digital can power the 250-300 ohm pair. Since that seems to be the case, I'll stick with the 250/300 ohm level.

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#1993920 - 12/02/12 10:58 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
o0Ampy0o Offline
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Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Either that or you would need to get a headphone amp for the piano.

This would allow you to use the 600s if they were of benefit to you elsewhere.

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#1993921 - 12/02/12 11:00 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Yes true. Thanks for the info and input.

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#1993922 - 12/02/12 11:03 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
I used to have a very nice sound system that was soothing to listen to. Now listening to anything is more of a utility than true pleasure. I have considered acquiring another high-end system but the selection seems to have shrunk and been pinched to become exotic and outrageously costly.

Maybe I just have not been able to locate good sources?


Edited by o0Ampy0o (12/02/12 11:03 PM)

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#1993948 - 12/03/12 01:14 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
It is not the case that the only effect of using high impedance headphones with cheap amps is in the volume. It affects the frequency response and character of the resulting sound. High end headphones like this are carefully calibrated to a reference amp (or set of amps) to produce the response that is desired. If you deviate from this, you will perturb the sound. It may or may not be audible or detrimental.

Having said that, my experience is that most DP's have pretty good headphone amps for driving pro-level headphones. Of course, I really have only played pretty good stage pianos, which are probably set up for this.

Plug your headphones into several different amps and you will find that they sound different in each one. Though you may find, as I have, that it's not clear which is "best."


Edited by gvfarns (12/03/12 01:15 AM)

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#1993960 - 12/03/12 02:21 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: gvfarns]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
It is not the case that the only effect of using high impedance headphones with cheap amps is in the volume. It affects the frequency response and character of the resulting sound. High end headphones like this are carefully calibrated to a reference amp (or set of amps) to produce the response that is desired. If you deviate from this, you will perturb the sound. It may or may not be audible or detrimental.

Having said that, my experience is that most DP's have pretty good headphone amps for driving pro-level headphones. Of course, I really have only played pretty good stage pianos, which are probably set up for this.

Plug your headphones into several different amps and you will find that they sound different in each one. Though you may find, as I have, that it's not clear which is "best."

I did not mention a lot of things. For the sake of providing a simple response regarding this context of using headphones for an in-home digital piano I provided a response as it applied to his initial request and referred the OP to details in two links. Volume would be the most significant difference when comparing the Beyerdynamics DT880 at 250ohms and 600ohms plugged into the same digital piano. I should have stressed given the source being a digital piano there is not going to be enough information in the signal to make a noticeable difference. I doubt there would be any benefit perceived going with the 600ohms version in this case.


Edited by o0Ampy0o (12/03/12 02:51 AM)

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#1993971 - 12/03/12 03:41 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
spanishbuddha Online   content
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Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2357
Loc: UK
There have been several threads in the past about headphones, and of course everyone comes up with their favourite, and different ones. Me? AKG K240 Mk2.

Discussion as above has been around loudness and matching impedance, but also earbuds versus over the ear, but more relevant open or closed. Closed has the advantage to some of reducing any noise from the keyboard, but they tend to be less comfortable and suffer somewhat with frequency response compared to open.

I dont have experience with the two you mention, but in my experience it is cheaper phones that colour the sound, either boosting the bass for use with modern pop style music, or clouding the highs because they just don't have the response.

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#1994012 - 12/03/12 07:31 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Here's some general information which may help in choosing headphones regarding their impedance ...

From

http://www.akg.com/site/product_tipps/powerslave,id,35,nodeid,2,_language,EN.html


Headphones impedance

The two important electrical specifications for a pair of headphones are the impedance of the phone transducer itself and its on-the-ear sensitivity.

So-called low impedance headphones may vary from 75 ohms up to about 150 ohms. Phones in this impedance range may be directly plugged into the headphone jack routinely found on recording and playback equipment. Higher impedances, such as 600 ohms, are more useful in studio installations where many units may be wired in parallel for studio monitoring applications.
Headphone sensitivity is usually stated as the in-the-ear sound pressure level produced by one milliwatt (mW) of audio input. Typical sensitivity ratings of AKG headphones run from 88 dB per mW to 105 dB per mW. You can see that very little power is needed to drive a stereo headphone pair to very high listening levels.

Doing a little bit of math will show that a signal of .775 Vrms will produce one mW in a 600 ohm load. That same signal will produce 8 mW in a 75 ohm load, a difference of about 9 dB. So it is clear that 600 ohm phones and the lower impedance models should not be intermixed in the same application. The 600-ohm models are more rugged than low impedance models in that the higher resistance coils are less susceptible to burn out than low impedance models.
To produce 200 mW in a 600-ohm load a signal of 11 V is needed. This shows that the advantage of high impedance headphones is that they can be used with almost any amplifier output without any risk of being damaged by overload, and you can connect up to 10 or more pairs to the same output. However, they may be not loud enough with some portable recording devices.
Low impedance headphones will sound louder with devices with low output voltages such as portable MD recorders etc., you cannot use more than one pair of headphones at the same output simultaneously.



Edited by Dave Horne (12/03/12 07:31 AM)
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#1994017 - 12/03/12 07:40 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Headphones is a topic covered many times. Here are my thoughts:

For playing a DP once a certain quality level has been reached the single most important consideration is physical comfort.

You can't go wrong with Sennheiser HD600s. I use AKG-701s and they are wonderful.

Another point - ensure that cabling and ear pads are replaceable at sensible cost. This really means detachable cable(s). The cable and the pads are the two wearing parts of a headphone. As far as ear pads are concerned avoid leather/faux leather and go for fabric/velour to minimise sweating.

Open headphones give a better sense of ambience and space than closed although good closed headphones can be very good indeed. Open headphones leak much more sound so consider the potential for disturbing others. I would not recommend in-ear types for use with DPs - they create a mechanical noise through their cable (due to the tight fit of the ear-buds the cable is not decoupled from your ears) that is very disturbing - although they isolate external sound very well.

If you want a dual-purpose headphone (for DP and hi-fi) then go for highish impedance (but I would stick at the 250 level rather than risk the DP not being able to drive 600ohms).

Last word of advice - you've got to hear/wear these things rather than buy on others' recommendations. This is as applicable to the concept of physical comfort as much as, if not more so than, sonic quality. Anyone that tells you that cheap headphones will sound better with a DP (or 'phones made by the same manufacturer as the DP for instance) is wrong in my opinion. You get what you pay for.

Good luck in your search.

Steve
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#1994035 - 12/03/12 08:49 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
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Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Do you think it's time we created a FAQ or a sticky thread covering the basics of headphones since we keep saying the same things over and over?
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#1994041 - 12/03/12 09:13 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
EssBrace Offline
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Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Agreed. It seems to come up often.
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#1994122 - 12/03/12 12:23 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
fanord Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 46
I believe that you might want to think some closed back headphones as well. The nice thing with closed back is that the mechanical noise from the keys you are pressing cannot be heard (at least it's much quieter). I use both: open (Sennheiser HD 650) and closed (Bose QC-15). I love them both for playing my DP (Nord Stage 2).

I suggest you try a couple headphones. Ideally try open and closed ones. You may find that closed back design works better for you because of the reduced mechanical noise coming from hitting the keyboard.
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#1994181 - 12/03/12 02:51 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: fanord]
Temperament Offline
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Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
I have the Sennheiser HD-650, and recently I had the opportunity to compare it with a HD-800 head-to-head smile. It was a day and night difference! (To all of them in that price range of the HD650; the HD-800 costs 1000 EUR, the others I compared about one third-one half of it).

But sometimes I use my very simple old Sennheiser PX-100, which is while not that detailed, is not a bad mix. I am just wondering whether too detailed sound reproduction could be too revealing for a not always perfect sound path with current DPs and a good balanced modest one could be beneficially smoothing out too much details. (My Audio Interface is EMU-0404USB).

The normal LineOut of the 0404USB produces a better quality sound with my HD650 than the phone amplifier output, just weaker, I have to turn volume up to 90%-100%.

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#1994184 - 12/03/12 03:08 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
ap55 Offline
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Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 79
Loc: Germany, Bremen
I have the shure srh850 with my HP505 and I often wonder if I hear the sound via headphone or via the build in speakers. It is a clear and authentic sound. Recommendation from my side, but I can't compare to the 600 and DT880.
ap55

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#1994190 - 12/03/12 03:22 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Thanks again for all the great responses.

The reasons I bring up a topic that seems to be covered often is because a multitude of these topics usually focus on personal preferences, comfort and sound signature. Obviously, all very important.

My question is about compatibility with various power sources however. I know the 100 watt (into 4 channels, 200 watts per channel) stereo amp will power 600 ohm headphones nicely. From what I've read, the 600 ohm version of headphones have the ability to sound the best as well (better than 250/300 ohms or the 30 ohm pair) when properly powered with a dedicated amp. I still don't know (technically) if my Roland has the ability to power 600 ohm headphones sufficiently. All kinds of common sense says to just buy the Sennheisser HD 600 or 650s and be done with it because at 300 ohms, they will work and sound great on both the home stereo AND the digital piano.

The genetically inherited technical trait that I have (which almost NEVER gets expressed!) is just curious (and interested) in the whole ohm/compatibility thing.

I'd go as far to say that even though the subject of headphones comes up a lot, I'd bet a lot of people have no idea about the compatibility of their power source and the ohm range of headphones they use with it. Of course the Gurus do, but that's not who I'm talking about. They either just luck out and it works OR they are not realizing their best potential in terms of matching the power source and the cans.

Doing just a bit of research can clear this issue up for me as well as others.

EssBrace, I especially liked your basic overview of headphone design and differences amongst them. I found that very helpful.

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#1994191 - 12/03/12 03:24 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
EssBrace, I especially liked your basic overview of headphone design and differences amongst them. I found that very helpful.


I just knew I was going to be useful today - it doesn't happen often!

Cheers,

Steve
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#1994666 - 12/04/12 01:51 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Radion Romanovich Offline
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Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 39
And when do you draw the line between the pleasure of nuances and disgust on the artificiality of sound? I've already read in this forum that some people actually don't recommend getting super high-end headphones because they might render the worst audible aspects of your DP's output. I'm talking specifically about DPs on-board sounds, not software pianos, so, when do you draw the line? Which models/specs would you suggest?

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#1994668 - 12/04/12 01:55 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
ap55 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 79
Loc: Germany, Bremen
Superhunky,
I think its good that a lot of players have no idea on the electromechanical impedance compatibility of their headphone. Technically you are right to look a bit on this property. You can have power matching for the impedance, where you get out with the maximum power/loudness of the headphone speaker. This is the case if impedance of the speaker is the same as the amplifier out. You can pick up these values in the manuals, certainly. You might also consider a headphone of much higher impedance than your amplifier output, going the risk that the max loudness is not sufficient for the advantage that the speaker itself is more damped by the amp impedance and therefore will follow more the signals coming from the amp. However this is a complex system, and depending on the layout of the headphone you might have a good result from this damping or you will dislike the higher damping. The best way is certainly to test it out.

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#1994692 - 12/04/12 03:30 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: ap55]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Originally Posted By: ap55
Superhunky,
The best way is certainly to test it out.


Agreed, but unfortunately (for many), not an option. I'm not sure who to blame for this (not Wal-Mart, at least not on this product) but there is literally no place to go to listen to several tier 1 headphones(HD-800, T1, etc) or tier 2 headphones (HD-600/650, DT-880, AGK 701) side by side anywhere around us.

I'm having to end up watching a bunch of 14 yo kids in their bedrooms on Youtube do an 'unboxing' in which the glossiness of the nice shiny box is part of the review!....nuff said!

I'm going to have to trust other peoples opinions which is always a great way to get chocolate ice cream when you really wanted vanilla!

Anyway, I'm getting closer to making a decision. FWIW, I like a slightly 'colored' representaion with just a hint of heightened bass and treble representing a slight "V" as opposed to linear. This is why I am leaning more towards the Senn HD-650 or Beyer DT-880. Although, the HD-600 would probably work out better being a bit flatter on the digital piano.

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#1994709 - 12/04/12 04:39 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
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Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
If your piano can drive the HD 650, go for it. If it can't, be sure to know what the return policy is.

I use the HD 598 and while I'm sure the HD 650 is even more refined, I opted for the lower impedance.
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#1994732 - 12/04/12 06:18 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Dave, I just checked the specs and reviews of the Senn HD-598 and it appears to be very similar to the HD-600. The pro reviews say they are just a tad brighter in the high end but with a much larger sound stage. But as you mentioned, they ARE a lot less power demanding with a rating of 50 Ohms.

For just over $200 bucks, and a VERY compatible Ohm rating of 50 Ohms (for use w/ a digital), this may possibly be the best 'bang for the buck' pair of headphones for use with a digital piano you can get. The only reason I would still consider the HD-650s is for the extra bass and treble when using with my high power stereo receiver. If the Roland KR-7 can't power the 300 Ohm headphones properly then I'll just buy a headphone amp.

Wait, forget that. No I won't. Because if I do, I'll be headed down the same path as a lot of you guys with separate (dedicated) headphones for different music genres, dedicated amps, special cables, etc. I'll go broke faster than I can save up the money to buy this stuff!

The 50 Ohm 598s makes a lot of dollars and cents!

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#1994733 - 12/04/12 06:25 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yeah, the 598 (and previous 595) are some of the most popular headphones in this forum. I have the 595's and they are great. The only beef I have is that the 595's were cheaper than the new 598's even though the only difference between the two are cosmetic.

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#1994746 - 12/04/12 07:25 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
gvfarms, I just checked Amazon. HD-598s are just over $200. The $595s are.........

......wait for it........... $528.00! + $15 shipping.

I'll stick with the ivory set at a $300 savings. Something must be wrong.

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#1994881 - 12/05/12 05:18 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Vectistim Offline
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Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 317
Loc: Reading, UK
I bought my 598s in pristine condition still with their box etc, second hand on ebay - might be worth a look.

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#1994887 - 12/05/12 05:38 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I feel compelled to state this ... again.

Find the best price online (including shipping) and then go to your local audio store and ask if they will match your price.

It's the local stores that let you take a set of headphones home for a day or two to try out, that's been my personal experience.
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#1995006 - 12/05/12 11:48 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
gvfarms, I just checked Amazon. HD-598s are just over $200. The $595s are.........

......wait for it........... $528.00! + $15 shipping.

I'll stick with the ivory set at a $300 savings. Something must be wrong.


I think the 595's are discontinued, so this is an example of the amazon markup of discontinued products that was just mentioned in a different thread. I paid $120 for mine.


Edited by gvfarns (12/05/12 11:49 AM)

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#1995010 - 12/05/12 11:54 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Radion Romanovich Offline
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So, is it safe to assume that these high-end headphone are still not good enough to manifest the sterility, roughness and artificiality of on-board piano sounds?

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#1995016 - 12/05/12 12:04 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Radion Romanovich]
gvfarns Offline
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Originally Posted By: Radion Romanovich
So, is it safe to assume that these high-end headphone are still not good enough to manifest the sterility, roughness and artificiality of on-board piano sounds?


No, I would say that's not a safe assumption at all. The existence and use of headphones like this is a common cause of the lifting of the veil of darkness that makes people think onboard sounds are really good. When your headphones are good and you play a lot, eventually you realize the need for a software piano.


Edited by gvfarns (12/05/12 12:05 PM)

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#1995043 - 12/05/12 01:15 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Radion Romanovich Offline
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gvfarns,

Considering that I don't want to get bored of my DP anytime soon, and am not really an audiophile, which of these 3 options would you recommend to me? I'm looking for mid-range in price, and something which is for monitoring but with soul. My brain will fill the blanks that these phones will not cover.

Audio Technica ATHM50
Sennheiser HD-280 PRO
AKG Acoustics K-240 Semi Open Studio (not the MK version)

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#1995054 - 12/05/12 01:49 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
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I own the ATHM50 and the HD595 and they are both pretty decent headphones, but I like playing piano on the latter better, despite the fact that it doesn't block out the noise from the action or other ambient noise (The ATH does this quite well). Open-style headphones give you a feeling that you are really there and the sound is coming from the room rather than the headphones. They are just more realistic. They don't emphasize the bass as much, so be aware of that. The HD595 is a order of magnitude more comfortable to wear as well. Your ears don't get hot or feel boxed in.

The HD-280 Pro is comparable to the ATH from what I understand, but I don't own it, so I can't comment more.

I also have not had the privilege of using the AKG. However, I feel that the open nature of the HD 595 is part of what makes them sound better. As a result I'm inclined to say the AKG is the way to go.

Overall it doesn't seem to me that getting inferior headphones is a good way to avoid getting bored of your DP. Basically, if your headphones are the weak link, you will get bored/annoyed with them rather than your DP. Each time we improve one piece in the audio chain, we realize a boost to the quality our experience and also notice the weakness of the next weakest link. But we shouldn't confuse the two effects. When you get really good headphones it's easier to notice deficiencies in the onboard sound, but that doesn't mean you aren't having a better experience than you would with poor headphones.

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#1995078 - 12/05/12 02:45 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Dave Horne]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I feel compelled to state this ... again.

Find the best price online (including shipping) and then go to your local audio store and ask if they will match your price.

It's the local stores that let you take a set of headphones home for a day or two to try out, that's been my personal experience.



Dave, I couldn't agree with this statement more. But as I've mentioned, I don'tT have a high fidelity type store anywhere near us. I'd suspect lots of people in rural areas don't. We must rely on people like you who are kind enough to spend the time giving us honest and accurate reviews.

From where we are at, a round trip drive to Phoenix from northern Arizona would be a 6 hour round trip drive. Driving my Ford F-150 would cost around $100 in gas EACH WAY. Spending $200 on gas plus 6 hours driving to audition a pair of $100 headphones....well...!

Anyway, I've made my decision. (and it's not what you think!)

After spending even more time doing research, I've decided to add a third category to the criteria in which my decision was based. In addition to buying a pair of nice (compatible) headphones for use with my digital piano, and my stereo receiver, the third (new) added criteria is sleep! That's right, SLEEP.

You see, my wife (Mrs Hunky) snores a little. Only a little mind you, but it is enough to make me focus on the snoring sound and drive me nuts as I am an EXTREMELY light sleeper. ANYTHING drives me nuts as I am hyper sensitive to anything; especially noises.

So, without going into too much detail, my new headphones will be perfectly compatible with my digital piano since they are rated at only 38 Ohms. (No amp needed). They will sound absolutely incredible on my high power (200 watts/channel) stereo receiver as they project incredible bass/mids/highs (so I've read), AND, they will be perfectly compatible for night time listening in bed my MP3 player without disturbing my wife since the cans are CLOSED with very little to no noticeable leakage of sound.

In addition, I can remain true to myself (that being a cheap bastard) and spin it as being 'frugal' or a 'savvy shopper'.

Cost: Just over $100 bucks @ Amazon.
Brand: Audio Technica
Model: ATH-M50s (straight cord).

After reading all of my criteria, can you blame me?, honestly?





Edited by Mr Super-Hunky (12/05/12 03:54 PM)

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#1995087 - 12/05/12 03:14 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
piRround Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
[quote=Dave Horne]

Cost: Just over $100 bucks @ Amazon.
Brand: Audio Technica
Model: ATH-M50s (straight cord).

After reading all of my criteria, can you blame me?, honestly?





Mr. S-H -- I'm intrigued with using them at night. I,too, listen to my MP3 at night but with a set of (wholly inadequate) earbuds because I'm a side/stomach sleeper. Can you fall and stay asleep with the phones?

Sorry to derail thread.
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#1995092 - 12/05/12 03:25 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: gvfarns]
Radion Romanovich Offline
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Thanks a lot for your insight. I have to admit that if I could buy better phones I would, but money is an issue. Fortunately, I have noticed that decent phones will satisfy a non-audiophile as long as he is not exposed to their higher-end brethren. As I said before, imagination shall fill the blanks.

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#1995113 - 12/05/12 04:18 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
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My only negative comment about this purchase, it doesn't look as though the cable is detachable.

Earlier this year I threw out several sets of headphones because I couldn't repair them. I then made it a priority to only buy headphones with easily replaceable cables (and ear cushions) as a result. (I bought the Sennheiser HD 598 and the AKG 240 MKII.)

The headphones that I recycled were still serviceable but would have cost too much to send back to the manufacturer to be rewired.

Just a thought ...
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#1995115 - 12/05/12 04:24 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
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Wow, you must be tough on headphones! In nearly 40 years I've only once had a cable problem with headphones, and that was a cable break inside the end connector, easily repaired. (BTW, I'm only referring to "real" phones, not the junk cheapos that come with CD players and the like, which break if you look at crossways at them.)

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#1995120 - 12/05/12 04:33 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
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The one set of headphones was about 20 years old but the wire in the molded plug broke. I asked about the repair (from Sony) and it would have cost more than what I paid new. I tried to solder a new plug but the cable itself was a nightmare to work with.
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#1995125 - 12/05/12 04:47 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
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Yes, those molded plugs are hard (impossible!) to repair. But the replacement (with removable screw-on cover) is a snap to install, and even today it costs less than $5 USD.

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#1995139 - 12/05/12 05:08 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: MacMacMac]
Dave Horne Offline
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Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Yes, those molded plugs are hard (impossible!) to repair. But the replacement (with removable screw-on cover) is a snap to install, and even today it costs less than $5 USD.


Have you tried to solder that headphone wire? This isn't like soldering speaker wire.

I always solder my own speaker plugs and I used to make my own instrument plugs; the headphone wires were simply beyond my ability. smile
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#1995147 - 12/05/12 05:37 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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pirRound, I don't sleep normally. I lie in bed in an upright position [think sitting up in bed watching TV]. The headphones are more a courtesy to my wife so I don't disturb her.

I have very bad joints that ache horribly at night because my mind focuses on the pain since it is dark and I have nothing else to do. Of course I should be sleeping, but not with the combination of energy and achy joints that I have.

I'm telling you this because this situation has an lot to do with my headphone (closed headphone) purchase. I've noticed that having my mind actively focus on beautiful music (Mannheim Steamroller comes to mind) helps to not focus on the aches and pains. I remember listening to some classical music as a kid on my dads Realistic (Radio Shack) headphones and how the music lulled me to sleep.

Radion Romanovitch, I checked out the pricing history of the ATH-50s on Amazon and the current price is near an all time low. If you do a lot of research, (days, like I'm doing), you will find the these cans are highly regarded by just about everyone. At just over $100 bucks, most, if not EVERYONE will say a better deal cannot be found. And this is with having VERY good quality sound as one of your criteria.

Dave Horne, You make a good point, however, the M50s seemed to address this issue by reinforcing the cable with a wound spring thing at the base. If you manage to bust through all that you must be playing gigs at a broffle and things are getting pretty wild! he he. Plus, they needed to compromise somewhere to offer this quality of a product at this super low price.

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#1995220 - 12/05/12 08:51 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
djwayne Offline
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I have the ATH-M50s and they are plenty good enough for me. I got them used but like new on E-bay for $100. I got the coiled cord which works out great for me. The pads had a problem staying on, so I used a little Gorilla glue to hold them on...works perfect now.

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#1995248 - 12/05/12 10:49 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
o0Ampy0o Offline
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If it is more convenient to shop online you can return headphones after trying them but you will probably pay for that option in the form of return shipping and maybe a restocking fee. Sometimes it is the only way to get your hands on something to try in your home.

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#1995434 - 12/06/12 12:24 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Deffie Offline
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The ATH-M50s for quite a while were the go-to headphone to recommend on Head-Fi; I think they might have started to fall out of that just recently but they're certainly well-regarded.

With that said, I can't help but wonder how new your stereo receiver is. Most modern receivers have a separate (and usually quite low quality) headphone amp that is completely isolated from the main amp. Hopefully not the case; apparently older amps typically used the main amp to drive their headphone out with some resistors added and newer ones usually have it driven off of a separate cheap op-amp since it's usually an afterthought. I know my receiver doesn't do my headphones any justice although it drives my speakers fine.

Oh, and as far as higher quality headphones exposing DP problems. At least for me I have found that the improvements are worth dealing with that potential issue. I've previously used HD600s for piano and it sounded quite good, and if it didn't require me to bring my amp home I'd probably uses my Audeze LCD-2s when I practice.
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#1995661 - 12/06/12 09:10 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Deffie]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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Here it is Deffie. My 1982 fall semester food and necessities allowance. (Lots of tuna in cans and Ramen noodles to make up the gap!)




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#1996148 - 12/07/12 08:15 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Deffie Offline
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Haha, nice, I know how that goes. Receivers aren't really something I know much about so unless you've thrown some good headphones at it I have no idea how it'll perform. I just know that vintage receivers are popular on Head-Fi because 'back in the day' the headphone jack would be part of the main amplification circuit and now they usually aren't (my new-ish receiver's certainly isn't).

And regardless, the good news is that with the ATH-M50s it probably won't matter since they're quite easy to drive smile
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#1996271 - 12/08/12 06:24 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
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for those on a budget, you guys reckon Sennheiser HD280Pro is the way to go?

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#1996280 - 12/08/12 07:09 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
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Nope. True, these are not expensive. But they sound cheap. For the same money there are many other, better choices.

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#1996283 - 12/08/12 07:15 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
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I just assumed any Sennheiser headphone would be good enough for a DP, guess I was very wrong frown

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#1996288 - 12/08/12 07:39 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
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Some people like the 280s. So they're not "wrong".
I just think that you can do much better for the money.
There are LOTS of good choices in the vicinity of $100.

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#1996314 - 12/08/12 09:19 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
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like the ones name in this thread? or do you have any personal experiences of your own? please share if so smile

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#1996411 - 12/08/12 01:19 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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Kent2012, I just found a pair of ath-m50s online for $99.00 free shipping. Also, Guitar Center has the M50s on sale now for $108.00 after a $20.00 coupon for spending over $100.

Like I (and a ton of others have said on audiophile sites), there ARE better headphones out there. But not for $100 bucks there isn't!. You would have to compare these cans with others costing 2-3 times as much in terms of audio quality as an equivalent comparison.

If you want something uber cheap that STILL sounds good, get the Sony MDR-zx300. There frequency response is 10hz-24hz which is incredibly respectful for a $20 pair of headphones. They don't sound great, but they do sound VERY good. For $20 bucks, they sound extremely good!

Hope this info helps.



Edited by Mr Super-Hunky (12/08/12 01:20 PM)

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#1996435 - 12/08/12 02:29 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
MacMacMac Offline
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Kent, the best way is to try them out yourself ... if possible. That's the problem, though. Around here the stores that have any phones open to try out are showing only a VERY limited number, and only brands I've never heard of. Meanwhile, the potentially good stuff is packaged in hermetically sealed cartons and locked up. Fortunately there are online dealers who will accept returns at no cost.

To shorten the process, first consider your preferences and your use-case.

Closed phones will keep sound in, and no one will be disturbed by what you're listening to. And they block outside noise as well. But the sound quality suffers. That's what I dislike about the Senn 280.

Open phones will leak a little sound, and will let some outside sound in. But, to me, they sound better. That's what I liked about the Senn HD555 and Beyer DTX900.

All of the above are at around $100, and there are plenty more. So if you can choose open vs. closed you can narrow the field.

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#1996853 - 12/09/12 10:31 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
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ok thanks for your help macmacmac and mr hunky lol
I am still a newbie beginner and I have a p105 so I was wondering about what kind of headphones to get. I honestly probably wouldn't even be able to tell the difference in sound I think. Think I'll try the Audio-Technica ATH-M50's, also what does a coiled cable do? does it offer anything different then one that isn't coiled?


Edited by kent2012 (12/09/12 10:35 AM)

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#1996903 - 12/09/12 12:05 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
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The coiled cable gets in the way less and gets tangled less. There's no other advantage as far as I know.


Edited by gvfarns (12/09/12 12:06 PM)

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#1996957 - 12/09/12 02:24 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: gvfarns]
spanishbuddha Online   content
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Originally Posted By: gvfarns
The coiled cable gets in the way less and gets tangled less. There's no other advantage as far as I know.

I thought I read in a Hi-Fi magazine article that the spin induced on the electrons contributes to a smoother sound. I wonder if Dave Horne agrees?

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#1996974 - 12/09/12 03:19 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: spanishbuddha]
Dave Horne Offline
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Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
The coiled cable gets in the way less and gets tangled less. There's no other advantage as far as I know.

I thought I read in a Hi-Fi magazine article that the spin induced on the electrons contributes to a smoother sound. I wonder if Dave Horne agrees?


Of course, the coiled cable makes a difference. At the equator however those effects are cancelled out. There are minute positive and negative effects though above and below the equator.

Don't you read the literature?
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#1996981 - 12/09/12 03:40 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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After doing a LOT of research, I'm glad I took others advice and did NOT choose a pair of cans based on my own impressions. I know at first this may seem odd, but let me explain.

To begin, there are MANY other qualified people who are more capable of accurately reviewing different headphones than I can. Many of them are considered to be somewhat 'authorities' on the subject. These people not only listen to the lows, mids, and highs but in addition listen to many other things like linear or colored sound signatures, spacial presence, speed of the drivers (slow vs punchy) etc.

These 'authority' type people usually have access to an oscilloscope and various other testing gear to actually see, hear and measure the frequency responses that the cans provide.

In addition, let's 'pretend' that you could just take a short drive to your local audiophile headphone showroom (there's usually one on every corner right?) and open up the factory sealed boxes. Of course since their selection is so huge, and since they have absolutely no problem opening up all the different sealed boxes so that you can audition 20-30 different pairs, you may still find this head-to-head comparison worthless! Why you ask?....because many headphones, especially higher end monitors require a break-in period of 40 hours (or more) to really loosen up the drivers and allow for the entire full range of motion. I've read countless times of people saying that their new headphones sound so much better AFTER being played for several weeks. NOTE: It is usually the fullness and the depth of the low-end bass that takes the time to 'break-in'.

Of course, some people will just crank the crap out of their headphones to their loudest possible level the day they take them out of the box. Others do the same thing with a brand new car engine.

It's your money!

Bottom line:

1.) You may NOT have a pro-audio store anywhere near you.

2.) You may NOT be an audiophile or even very well informed on what you are doing or about to buy.

3.) You may NOT have access to a wide selection of well worn (broken in) headphones that will accurately represent the finished sound product....i.e how can you compare bass response between cans when they are not even broken in yet as they won't sound the same until AFTER they are broken in?

I ended up taking the advice of just about every professional review I could find and ended up purchasing the Audio Technica ATH-M50s for all the reasons mentioned above. Also, when I say a "$100" pair of headphones, I really mean more like $99 as opposed to $159. A 'hundred bucks' is a hundred bucks. NOT 50% higher than that!

Side note: The law of diminishing returns seems to apply with headphones more on construction quality than anything else. As I've mentioned before, lots of cheap inexpensively made cans sound VERY good. The $20 Sony MDR-ZX300 come to mind. It's just the materials used on some of these products may not last all that long. Then again, as Billy Joel says;..."you get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers".

Also, don't forget about the OHMs compatibility thing. Basically you have the choice of three levels. 30-ish OHMs, usually best for MP3 players, digital pianos, laptops and alike. 200-300 OHMs, usually for both portable players, digital pianos and home stereo. The use of a headphone amp may or may not be helpful with this impedance. And the 600 OHMs pair is usually reserved for more pro audio type stuff. They will work on every type of portable player but will most likely require the use of a dedicated headphone amp for best results. These are NOT required when using the lower impedance headphones. EXAMPLE, the Sansa/Sandisk clip, clip+, clip zip can power 64 OHM (or less) headphones nicely without much benefit from an amp. After that, higher impedance cans may require more juice from an amp.

Well, this is about all I know, (or at least have read). If anything is wrong, don't come down on me too hard as I've said I didn't know anything just a week ago! Hopefully this info can help someone out.

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#1996986 - 12/09/12 03:51 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
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Oops. forgot something regarding the 'coiled cable'. If you are using coiled cable headphones, just remember that you may possibly end up supporting all that coiled cable weight dangling from one ear. This may bother you. It may not.

I got the straight (non coiled) cable so when I play my digital piano only about 3 feet of cable is supported by one headphone cup with the remaining 8 feet just lying (and supported) by the floor. Also, with a coiled cable, you may experience a slight 'tug' when using the headphones if you walk away from your headphone source more than a very short distance. This really is no big deal but the weak spot in the ATH-M50s is that the cable is NOT replaceable so I'm not looking for a way to stress out the cable connection by tugging on a coiled cable or having constant unsupported weight hanging from it.

But that's just me. Maybe I'm starting to get a little anal! haha.

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#1996990 - 12/09/12 03:57 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
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I really miss those Julian Hirsch and Gladden Houck reviews. They debunked a lot of the nonsense that many audiophiles still believe. smile
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#1996992 - 12/09/12 04:10 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
djwayne Offline
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I like the coiled version because I have a small studio and have enough guitar and mic cables laying around as it is. The coil keeps it from getting tangled up and is much neater.

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#1997021 - 12/09/12 05:31 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
o0Ampy0o Offline
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After tugging the life out of several cords I adopted the routine of removing headphones when I move away from the source.

I have been able to use my older model of Sennheisers for 20 years in part because I eliminated a few things like falling asleep wearing them (lying down listening to music with headphones this is tough), keeping them on when moving away from the source, not playing them too loud, etc. It also helps if you hang the cord over your back rather than dangling forward to prevent snagging them on things like a chair arm or the instrument (guitar with or without strap more so than keyboards). The weight of a coiled cord has seemed to work against its benefits.


Edited by o0Ampy0o (12/09/12 05:34 PM)

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#1997027 - 12/09/12 05:47 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
I got the straight (non coiled) cable so when I play my digital piano only about 3 feet of cable is supported by one headphone cup with the remaining 8 feet just lying (and supported) by the floor. Also, with a coiled cable, you may experience a slight 'tug' when using the headphones if you walk away from your headphone source more than a very short distance. This really is no big deal but the weak spot in the ATH-M50s is that the cable is NOT replaceable so I'm not looking for a way to stress out the cable connection by tugging on a coiled cable or having constant unsupported weight hanging from it.


I got the straight cable also. Because it was cheaper when I was making the purchase. smile

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#1997179 - 12/10/12 12:52 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
kent2012 Offline
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Items Ordered Price
1 of: Audio-Technica ATHM50S Professional Monitor Headphones
Condition: New
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
$115.95

smile

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#1997241 - 12/10/12 05:29 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
I got my M50s coming next week...can't wait! Anyway, I thought I will 'coil' the cable myself, just to roll it up enough so the weight is still supported on the floor but also out the way, and gonna use a velcro tie or something to hold the coil together.
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1997426 - 12/10/12 04:13 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Congratulations you guys. I just received my new headphones yesterday and they sound INCREDIBLE! Of course, with all the hype and anticipation two sea shells held together with a coat hanger bent over my head would probably have sounded good! (Placebo effect). haha.

Anyway, this thread was originally about choosing a 'compatible' set of headphones for the power source that is driving it. This is where OHMs/impedance comes in. Since I've discussed this to death already, I'm going to go back to the headphone discussion since I'm really stoked with these new phones. Here are some of my thoughts so far...

Sound Quality: As stated, the Audio Technica ATH-M50s ('s' stands for straight cord) are simply AMAZING. Why?, because they give a very full and flat linear response (currently, UN-broken in) across the entire range. I suspect that the bass response will increase a bit after they are properly broken in but right now the response across the board is very accurate and un-colored. I can see that these may be just oh so slightly bass colored since they are so neutral (but very responsive) right now.

When using these new headphones on my $5000 digital piano (Roland KR-7), it made me realize that Roland put $4,999 into the piano and the rest into the speakers! Sadly, I'm not entirely kidding.

When using the digital with the headphones on, besides the obvious of no one being able to hear me play late at night, the sound reproduction vs the DP built in speakers is literally night and day. So far apart that it is not even fair to compare them as they are just too different. Think of it as comparing being in the front row of your favorite artists live concert as opposed to listening to the same song being pumped into an elevator. It's just not the same.

I am hearing all kinds of new sounds in my music (like fingers squeaking down guitar strings, throat clearing by the singer, piano hammer action clicking) and much much more.

While 'open' headphones sound excellent and some say better than the 'closed' type as they may provide a larger sound stage....meaning an open and 'airy' sound. Many reviewers have said that these particular pair of closed cans sound very good and I agree.

I personally like the closed headphones for two reasons:

1.) The reason I'm wearing headphones in the first place is that
I don't want others to hear me or be bothered by the sound.

2.) I want to listen to my music at night when I can't sleep without disturbing my wife. Note to self; significantly lower the backlit brightness level on the Sansa Clip Zip screen display as it will light up the room at night.

I am now listening to near audiophile quality sound with just my $34 Sansa Clip Zip (currently on sale at Best Buy) along with my $100-ish pair of studio monitor headphones. Seriously, for under $150 bucks, I am really listening to some great quality and sounding stuff.

My only concern is that if you get a pair of headphones with a straight cable, you DO have a LOT of cord to deal with. It's not a problem though as I've decided to simply clip the cord using a small alligator type clip to my shirt. This way, NO amount of cord is being supported by one ear cup and the excess just sits neatly on the floor.

You guys that just purchased a good pair of cans are going to be so happy when you finally hear them. My advice to you is to get some really good music ready so when they arrive you will be ready to audition them with great sounding stuff since you're probably going to be up all night playing with them anyway!

Also, don't forget that the bass takes some time to fully wear in which is why your new cans will sound neutral (UN-colored, as in NO enhancements anywhere) until a few weeks go by. Lots of people like this somewhat neutral sound as it represents the music accurately without any added musical MSG! Personally, I like just a tiny bit of added color in the bass but ONLY at very low volume levels as it seems to make the music sound just a bit warmer.

I am especially excited for you guys that are getting high quality headphones for the very first time as you are going to notice such an incredible difference in your music. These kinds of 'huge' differences don't come around often and when they do, you usually have a bittersweet reaction to them. That being elated with your new purchase (the high), but then there is also the feeling of buyers remorse, (the low), since after your new purchase you are usually broke...(buzzkill !)

This is one of those rare situations in which you are not only very happy with your purchase, but everyone is happy because peace is restored in the family once again, and you still have enough cash leftover to take everyone out to dinner at Outback steakhous. Yummy.

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#1997433 - 12/10/12 04:21 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1997438 - 12/10/12 04:31 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
I am hearing all kinds of new sounds in my music (like fingers squeaking down guitar strings, throat clearing by the singer, piano hammer action clicking) and much much more.


Yuck. I'd send them back!
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#1997490 - 12/10/12 06:14 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9153
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Agreed. Unless you're listening to "John Cage's greatest hits", I'd be inclined to send those headphones back. wink

James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1997549 - 12/10/12 07:43 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Dave Horne]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne


...and passing this right back obtained from an independent audio review source, NOT the mfg!

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-20061153-47.html

And as far as hearing small subtle sounds like guitar frets, violin strings, breathing etc, I think your right as nobody wants that.

For Sale: Brand new headphones only capable of producing creepy-yucky sounds. Hardly used. p.m me for price.








Edited by Mr Super-Hunky (12/10/12 07:48 PM)

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#1997557 - 12/10/12 07:57 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9153
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I'm joking of course.

Actually, I'm actually quite a fan of those 'bonus' sounds. wink
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1997558 - 12/10/12 08:11 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Kawai James]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
I'm joking of course.

Actually, I'm actually quite a fan of those 'bonus' sounds. wink


I know you are James. I am too. I was listening last night to several different genres of music. Everything from xX 'Intro' to Manheim Steamrollers Fresh Aire series. The subtle hidden sounds are just so cool to hear. Sometimes I hear entire extended melodies that were originally played so soft I never knew they were there. It's kind of an extra bonus you get once you pony up for some real cans.

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#1997574 - 12/10/12 08:35 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9153
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I particularly love live soul albums recorded in intimate venues - for example Curtis Mayfield and Donny Hathaway (1971 and 1972 respectively, I believe...). When wearing noise cancelling headphones, I can close my eyes and imagine I'm in the audience - those recordings are drenched with atmosphere!
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1997704 - 12/11/12 02:28 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Kenboi2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 33
Those with Sennheiser headphones, can other people hear what you are playing clearly? In other words, If I put a pair of those on to play in the midnight, does it distract my family? Thanks in advance.

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#1997787 - 12/11/12 08:55 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Kenboi2]
Deffie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 169
Originally Posted By: Kenboi2
Those with Sennheiser headphones, can other people hear what you are playing clearly? In other words, If I put a pair of those on to play in the midnight, does it distract my family? Thanks in advance.


For open headphones in general it depends almost entirely on your volume level. At my normal listening level you can't hear them unless you're within a couple feet of them. If I've turned it up to enjoy a specific song then you can probably recognize the song from across the room.
_________________________
Playing since April 2010.
Kawai MP10

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#1997794 - 12/11/12 09:23 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Deffie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 169
Oh, and while the ATH-M50s are certainly quite good for the price, here's what their FR graph looks like vs something a bit more truly neutral:

Code:
http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2941&graphID[]=3231



...well I just spent way too long trying to get the image to work but the forum really doesn't like those []s in the link...you'll have to copy/paste if you want to see the graph.
_________________________
Playing since April 2010.
Kawai MP10

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#1997801 - 12/11/12 09:39 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
Originally Posted By: Mr Super-Hunky
I am hearing all kinds of new sounds in my music (like fingers squeaking down guitar strings, throat clearing by the singer, piano hammer action clicking) and much much more.


Ye, and to prepare for this, I'm in the process of ripping all my CDs to 320kbps mp3s or FLAC, and bought a sound card to get off the onboard sound too...
_________________________
Zaahir

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

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#1997833 - 12/11/12 11:14 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Kenboi2]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Kenboi2
Those with Sennheiser headphones, can other people hear what you are playing clearly? In other words, If I put a pair of those on to play in the midnight, does it distract my family? Thanks in advance.


Not even close. I'm not sure why people talk about sound leaking out. I have played piano with my wife sitting right next to me in silence and she couldn't hear it. You'd have to REALLY crank the volume in order for people to hear what you are playing in any meaningful sense. I mean, the volume would have to be at ear-shattering levels.

I think the idea of open headphones leaking out comes from people who have basically deafened themselves and are listening to booming pop music beats at unreasonable levels on subways. When playing digital piano, the clicking or thumping of the keys is at least an order of magnitude louder to a third party in the room than sounds from an pair of open headphones are.

The concern with open headphones is not sound leaking out, but sound leaking in. The whirr of your computer fan, the thumping of your piano action, your air conditioner, horns honking outside, people talking in the next room. All these things are clearly audible while you have a pair of open headphones on.


Edited by gvfarns (12/11/12 11:16 AM)

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#1997838 - 12/11/12 11:21 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Dave Mack Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/12
Posts: 15
I'll chime in. I just got the casio px350 and using my 600ohm beyerdynamics, http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/614495-REG/Beyerdynamic_483966_DT_990_Premium_Open_Back.html that I use for my home studio the casio couldn't power them. Even with the volume all the way up it was not satisfactory at all. With my $100 klipsch earbuds the sound was MUCH more pleasing. But for listening when using an amp or powered mixed the beyerdynamics are phenomenal

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#1997845 - 12/11/12 11:47 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Deffie]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3580
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Deffie
Oh, and while the ATH-M50s are certainly quite good for the price, here's what their FR graph looks like vs something a bit more truly neutral:

Code:
http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2941&graphID[]=3231



...well I just spent way too long trying to get the image to work but the forum really doesn't like those []s in the link...you'll have to copy/paste if you want to see the graph.


How's this:


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#1997879 - 12/11/12 12:57 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: gvfarns]
Kenboi2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 33
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Originally Posted By: Kenboi2
Those with Sennheiser headphones, can other people hear what you are playing clearly? In other words, If I put a pair of those on to play in the midnight, does it distract my family? Thanks in advance.


Not even close. I'm not sure why people talk about sound leaking out. I have played piano with my wife sitting right next to me in silence and she couldn't hear it. You'd have to REALLY crank the volume in order for people to hear what you are playing in any meaningful sense. I mean, the volume would have to be at ear-shattering levels.

I think the idea of open headphones leaking out comes from people who have basically deafened themselves and are listening to booming pop music beats at unreasonable levels on subways. When playing digital piano, the clicking or thumping of the keys is at least an order of magnitude louder to a third party in the room than sounds from an pair of open headphones are.

The concern with open headphones is not sound leaking out, but sound leaking in. The whirr of your computer fan, the thumping of your piano action, your air conditioner, horns honking outside, people talking in the next room. All these things are clearly audible while you have a pair of open headphones on.


Well said. Thank you the information smile

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#1997885 - 12/11/12 01:10 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
djwayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 123
Well closed headphones come in handy when you're recording and using the headphones for monitors, you don't want to hear the previous tracks bleeding out of the headphones and into your microphone.

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#1997966 - 12/11/12 04:07 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
If disturbing my wife at night with my music was not a problem, I may have gone with a different headphone; maybe not.

Kenboi brought up a very good point which is basically the concept of 'noise cancellation'. Remember what I said about Mrs Hunky snoring just a tad at night? Well, the 'tad' part is certainly subjective! Without going into detail,....I NEED noise cancelling headphones in order to escape into my own private world underneath the bedsheets at night. 'I' won't be able to jump into that empty front row seat listening to Mark Knopfler play his new tune 'Hard Shoulder' if at the same time I'm hearing the cat scream because his food has not been 'refreshed' in the last hour. Or the AC/heat comes on, tolilet gets flushed, on and on. You know what I mean.

I did listen to a pair of Sennheiser HD-650 cans and must admit they DID sound incredible. Not flat, but still incredible.

While the sound emitted from them was not much..i.e you probably would NOT wake up others in the house, they DO emit enough sound for the person sleeping next to you to clearly hear. 'Clearly hear' means that they could easily tell you the name and artist of the song being played even if it is not 'loud' at all. Just something to consider.

Again, I think the 'noise cancelling' effect has a much higher weighted value in your decision to buy open or closed cans than the amount of sound that leaks out does. Good point Kenboi2.

BTW, since we are still discussing headphones, in my research I had found that a lot of people like the Koss Porta-Pro headphones if you are looking for something portable (jogging, gym use, bike riding, whatever) but not as bulky as over the ear cans but something better sounding (or comfort) than shoving ear buds in your head. I wasn't looking for this type of 'portable' headphone so I can't give any personal feedback but this specific pair seemed to come up a lot as highly recommended if you want a pair of 'on the ear' phones.




I

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#1998133 - 12/12/12 12:43 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Kenboi2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 33
Mr Super-Hunky, well said. Now, I am very confused of whether I should buy the close headphone or open headphone.

I have a question regarding Sennheiser HD600 300ohms. If I use these on Kawai CA95, do you think I need a headphone amp to power the 300ohms? I am thinking of buying either the HD598 or HD600. Someone with experience, please chime in. Thanks.

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#1998148 - 12/12/12 01:23 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
I have the HD595, which is essentially the HD598 and it's pretty dang great (both are easily driven by your piano at 50 ohms). I also have the ATHM50, which I like very much as well. The latter is very good at insulating me from ambient sounds, so I use it at work to block out my coworker noise and listen to some nice music. The sennheiser, with its open design, has superior sound, though, so that's what I use with my piano. It would be nice if you could get that nice a sound from a pair of closed headphones, but I kind of suspect you can't.

By the way, the HD595 is much, much more comfortable than the ATH for long listening sessions. Actually it's the most comfortable headphone I have ever used. I could literally have it on my head all day long and it wouldn't bother me. They both sound good, though, and I do get annoyed with room noises when I use my Sennheisers--I like to turn my volume down so I'm assured of no hearing damage--so I would not fault anyone for going the closed headphone route. I just don't do it myself.


Edited by gvfarns (12/12/12 01:27 AM)

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#1998174 - 12/12/12 02:55 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Kenboi2, if you are looking for that perfect 'all-around' pair of headphones to be used with several different instruments/devices, my best suggestion would be to make a list of when and where you would be using these cans and see which ones meet that need.

Since 'noise cancellation' (both ways) was one of my criteria, that cancelled out the category of 'open' cans right away. If this wasn't important, I probably would have gone with the Sennheiser HD-600 or HD-650. Keep in mind the 650s are $500 cans. That's FIVE times the price of the ATH-M50s.

The M50s seem to be the blue jean basic staple of audiophile quality headphones. They only get better, and more expensive from there. From what I've read, you CAN notice subtle changes in the music reproduction but you're gonna pay to hear it.

At some point you need to call it just to keep things realistic. $100 ATH-M50s headphones can easily become $300 Senn HD-600. But if you want a little extra bass and highs, $500 will get you the nice Senn 650s. Then again, just a bit more will get you into the 800 series and so on. Just keep things
Compatible. Compatible with your equipment. Compatible with your living situation. Compatible with your wallet.

You may also want to consider a 'semi-open' design (which officially doesn't exist) like the Beyerdynamics DT-880 (250 OHMs). These cans may be considered to be the compromise between both the open and closed design even though they are officially considered open. They are also only 2-3 times the price of the M50s instead of five.

The middle OHM category (250/300 OHMs) will sound good with all equipment (MP3 players/devices, digital pianos, home stereo). The volume levels may not be as loud when using the lower powered stuff (portable devices) but will still sound very good. Since it is much easier for lower powered equipment to power headphones with less resistance like the 30 OHM category, they will do just that. Power them easier which will equate to louder volume levels and possibly a little fuller bass response. I think the only way to really screw up is to be completely incompatible like buying a pair of 600 OHM headphones powered by an MP3 player with no amp. Even under this situation, the music would still probably sound pretty good but be seriously lacking the power needed to present the music to the listener at its fullest potential.

Portable devices = 30-ish OHM category. (30-50)

Digital Pianos = Both 30 and 300 OHM category (30-300)

Home stereo/amp = 600 OHM category (30-600)

You will see that the home stereo/dedicated amp can play anything since they have plenty of power to do so. Portable devices on the other hand usually don't have the power to drive demanding 600 OHM cans to there fullest without extra power (amp).

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#1998311 - 12/12/12 11:33 AM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Kenboi2]
Deffie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 169
Originally Posted By: Kenboi2
Mr Super-Hunky, well said. Now, I am very confused of whether I should buy the close headphone or open headphone.

I have a question regarding Sennheiser HD600 300ohms. If I use these on Kawai CA95, do you think I need a headphone amp to power the 300ohms? I am thinking of buying either the HD598 or HD600. Someone with experience, please chime in. Thanks.


Assuming the CA95 has a similar headphone output as my MP10 then the HD600s are fine on them without an amp (I used them a number of times when I brought them home from work).


Oh, and since another comment mentioned it, the HD650 isn't necessarily better than the 600. The 600 is more neutral and the 650 was purposefully tuned to be slightly more 'enjoyable' (whatever that means) with a bit of bass emphasis. Personally I opted for the cheaper one that is also more accurate, but whatever sounds good to you smile


And on the budget end, you're right, the Koss PortaPros are excellent. The Koss KSC75s also have a strong following.
_________________________
Playing since April 2010.
Kawai MP10

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#1998369 - 12/12/12 01:11 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Deffie]
Kenboi2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 33
Guys,

Thank you so much for the input. My budget is tight at the moment. If HD600 is not much of a difference from the HD598, then why would I spend another $200 for it? I think I would go with something that I can afford and I think HD598 would suit me for now. If nothing comes up between around the same price range, I'll be getthing the HD598. I really want to see how the open headphone is like.

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#1998402 - 12/12/12 02:19 PM Re: HEADPHONES....What to consider when using w/ digital piano. [Re: Kenboi2]
Deffie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 169
Originally Posted By: Kenboi2
Guys,

Thank you so much for the input. My budget is tight at the moment. If HD600 is not much of a difference from the HD598, then why would I spend another $200 for it? I think I would go with something that I can afford and I think HD598 would suit me for now. If nothing comes up between around the same price range, I'll be getthing the HD598. I really want to see how the open headphone is like.


For straight out of an ipod or computer I'd probably go with the 598s. However, if you anticipate upgrading to a dedicated amp in the future then it might be better to just get the 600s now. The 600s are a bit harder to drive, but driven decently they should sound more accurate/detailed than the 598s.

This is all my experience with them both to listen to music and play my DP. I suspect I'd probably be entirely satisfied with something like the 598s if they were just for DP.

While graphs certainly don't tell you everything about a headphone (especially not when this small and smoothed out), this does show that the 600s should have more accuracy and detail in the treble (that and they were one of Sennheiser's twin flagships for years until the 800 came out, and are good enough that they're still very popular today):

Yeah, I know it's the 595, they don't have the 598 in their database yet, but I suspect it's be similar.

Thanks ando for how to fix the image.
_________________________
Playing since April 2010.
Kawai MP10

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